In the spring of 2009, two young adults, Alie Mihuta and Emma Flynn, traveled to Central America on a mission trip to a poor community in San Salvador. They were excited to get their hands dirty, doing some serious work in the community. When they arrived at the mission, the priest in charge explained their task: paint a mural. At the time, they reported being surprised and disappointed – until they began painting.
They were surrounded by children in the neighborhood, who were fascinated and who also began painting the mural.
At night, the people of the community – out of their poverty – pulled enough food together to feed the visitors from El Norte. There was singing, dancing, and much merriment.
Alie – now the development coordinator at the non-profit organization Turning the Page, recently reflected on her experience:
It was one of those experiences that completely shatters the way you perceive the world and humans which operate in it. And for a teenager it was a time where you figure out… Holy shit, the universe isn’t made for me… the world is so much bigger than me… I’m just one, little person. But at the same time it was a trip that made me realize that even though I am just one person- I can do so much. And everyone who can, should try to do the little things that they can to make the world better. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without having made that trip. I have no idea who or what kind of person I would be… But I feel like I would be clueless and naïve.”
Alie and Emma were transformed by the power of art.